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With new stadium, Vikings owners see huge jump in team’s valuation

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
U.S. Bank Stadium

No one ever said Zygi didn’t know what he was doing. At MPR, Bob Collins says this: “The latest Forbes report on the value of a franchise suggests owners of National Football League teams couldn’t lose money even if they set fire to their cash. Exhibit A: Zygi Wilf, lead owner of your Minnesota Vikings who has a team that is now worth 38 percent more than it was a year ago, thanks primarily to the new stadium that was built with nearly a half billion dollars of public money. … With the new stadium, Forbes calculates the team is worth $2.2 billion. Forbes contends it’s a 38 percent increase in a year, with the team moving up from 18th-most-valuable to 17th.” You are welcome, Z-Man.

And while we’re thinking of teams, this guy could play with Martin Shkreli, the “Pharma Bro.” Richard Chin of the PiPress says, “A Minneapolis lawyer who described himself as ‘a leader in the field’ of suing people who illegally download videos from porn companies has been indefinitely suspended from practicing law by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Paul Robert Hansmeier, 35, was engaged in the practice of filing ‘porno-trolling’ lawsuits to make ‘easy money’ on copyright cases, according to one federal judge. The court suspended him for a range of misconduct ranging from lying to the courts, failing to pay fees and filing frivolous lawsuits.”

Also from Mr. Chin, this: “A St. Paul man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of terroristic threats in connection with the group assault of a 45-year-old man outside his University-Snelling neighborhood apartment building. Darrell Crowley, 57, incited a group of 15 to 20 young people to assault the victim Aug. 15, according to the criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court.”

And now we know. This is how “it’s working” over in Wisconsin. For The Guardian Ed Pilkington reports, “The pervasive influence of corporate cash in the democratic process, and the extraordinary lengths to which politicians, lobbyists and even judges go to solicit money, are laid bare in sealed court documents leaked to the Guardian. The John Doe files amount to 1,500 pages of largely unseen material gathered in evidence by prosecutors investigating alleged irregularities in political fundraising.  … In addition to [Donald] Trump, many of the most powerful and wealthy right-wing figures in the nation crop up in the files … .” Classy. Not quite as classy as the “porn troller,” but up there.

Esquire’s wonderfully entertaining Charles P. Pierce goes on to say of the new info: “… as The Guardian points out today, Walker’s sanctimonious tweeting has gone from funny to drop-dead hilarious. … it took a sophisticated network of financiers, plutocrats, dark money lords, and independent ratfckers to enable Walker to turn Wisconsin into the banana republic it is today. The case of the state’s supreme court is a fine example. Alas, the state is one of those that has attached itself to the Second Worst Idea In American Politics, the elected judiciary.” There’s a reason why Charlie rarely shows up on the pundit chat shows.

The smart kids have been listed. Says the Strib, “The National Merit Scholarship Program announced today that 279 students from Minnesota have been named semifinalists for 2017. The Minnesota seniors are among about 16,000 semifinalists named as part of the annual academic competition. The students, who were selected based on scores on a PSAT qualifying test, will compete for some 7,500 scholarships worth about $33 million, to be awarded this spring. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.” 

Yeah, don’t count on us. Dave Kolpack for the AP says, “Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is warning federal officials not to presume his state will approve a permit for a Red River flood diversion around the cities of Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota. In a recent letter to the director of the Office of Management and Budget and an assistant Army secretary, Dayton said he’s ‘deeply disappointed’ that the Army Corps of Engineers seems to be disregarding concerns Minnesota has raised about the project. He said it’s essential that the Corps respect Minnesota’s permit process and not prematurely begin construction.”

Patrick Reusse has a scalding take on the latest absence of Joe Mauer. “Mauer is owed $46 million for two remaining seasons. No matter how much money a ballplayer has gathered through a career, I realize that the idea of Mauer just taking a walk is a preposterous thought. BUT, there’s something wrong here. You can’t go from great, to very good, and now to this, without a physical problem. … Kent Hrbek, a great Twins player, broke down physically and played his last game at 34 years and a few days. Mauer will turn 34 next April 19 and my wild-eyed Skip-like speculation is that he won’t be playing then.” Herbie of course was a wee bit, how shall I say this? “lardier” than Joe.

Ignore that lack of taxes. Says Jennifer Brooks in the Strib, “Tribal casinos employ thousands of Minnesotans and draw millions of visitors each year, according to a report released this week that offers a glimpse into tribal gaming’s closely guarded finances. From payroll to purchasing to tourist dollars, tribal casinos pump an estimated $1.8 billion in direct and indirect revenue back to the state each year, according to the report. It estimates that casinos and related industries, such as tribal-run hotels, employed 13,371 people, attracted 23 million visitors and channeled $482 million to other Minnesota vendors.”

A lot of skeeters died up north the night before last. Says Paul Huttner at MPR, “Rainfall returns to Minnesota as Thursday wears on. Another soaking arrives in the metro Thursday night into Friday morning. Temperatures rebound to late summer levels by Sunday and into next week. Some towns west of the Twin Cities make a run at 90 degrees one more time by next Tuesday. Hopefully your summer bucket list items are checked off already. If not, you’ll get one more chance starting Sunday.”

“Enough liquor stores”!? Says Kelly Smith in the Strib, “Minnetonka has enough liquor stores, city leaders decided this week. The City Council on Monday rejected a liquor license request from Total Wine & More, the first time that a Minnesota municipality has turned down the Maryland-based liquor superstore chain with seven stores in the Twin Cities metro area. Although the council voted 4 to 3 for Total Wine, a liquor license requires support from five of the council’s seven members. The rejection ‘raises serious questions about the council’s ability and desire to create a level playing field in which all businesses can thrive,’ said Edward Cooper, a spokesman for Total Wine, in a statement.” Such a disappointment for a struggling start-up.

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/15/2016 - 07:14 am.


    Has the valuation of Minneapolis gone up as a result of the stadium?

    • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 09/15/2016 - 08:50 am.



    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 09/15/2016 - 08:54 am.

      Actually, it has

      You’ll notice it again this Sunday night.

    • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 09/15/2016 - 09:24 am.

      You know, it probably has. There’s a lot of building going on in the immediate area and (unless more sweetheart deals were given) more property taxes. A nice little park too.

      Of course, that begs the question of a) whether it was worth the investment, b) whether we the taxpayer could have gotten a better deal, and c) whether the development would have happened anyway.

      • Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/15/2016 - 12:36 pm.

        Yes. My question wasn’t rhetorical and I genuinely don’t know the answer or even how to answer it. But we made a deal with Wilfs. And while it was a good deal for them, we do need to ask if it was a good deal for us. Their property values went up. Did ours?

  2. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/15/2016 - 07:29 am.

    The Bulge Under Zigi’s Mattress

    While the taxpayers can all congratulate ourselves on padding the Wilf’s fortunes, my concern is on the next generation. We really need to get rid of the estate tax before Mark or Zigi pass from this vale of tears, else their heirs may be reduced to working at a Walmart.

    And as for Minnetonka & Total Wine, I can’t believe the Edina-based liberal author of this column passed up the opportunity to reference another slight to job creators. I’m sure Total Wine is planning on a new location in Sioux Falls, the better to serve all of those former Minnesota millionaires who have moved there.

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 09/15/2016 - 08:26 am.

    Misplace priorities

    In the metro area we are way beyond stadium rich and yet we have some school buildings that are 80 to100 years old. That says a lot about how serious we are about education. How about we take care of the schools and let the rich take care of themselves. I personally don’t like spending my money to make them look richer. The Wilf’s have managed to price the average guy on the street right out of being able to even go to the stadium to watch a game. $259 dollars for a nose bleed seat – ridiculous!

    • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 09/15/2016 - 09:10 am.

      Taking Charge

      I would disagree. A small, private, cohesive group was charged with overseeing the process of getting the stadium built and they performed well to their task. In contrast, any changes to our schools come from a thousand different directions, have to go through the federal government, the state government, etc, where each new person handling the plan has to concern themselves with getting reelected.

      The conversation is not stadium vs education. The conversation is directed vs undirected. Direction and drive were given by those who wanted the stadium built, and it was built. Presently, there is no dedicated direction from politicians or the public when it comes to our schools.

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 09/15/2016 - 03:01 pm.

      And misplaced facts

      First, why is it always portrayed as and “either or” choice? As a school aged child, I went to some decent schools and had season ticket to the Vikings with my father. So I had both.

      And I just bought 2 tickets to a Vikings game in the new stadium for $50 each. So not sure where you got your ticket price info from.

      • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 09/15/2016 - 04:38 pm.

        Ticket Price on news

        For the Packer game the nose bleed seats were $259. Apparently that’s not the standard price.

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